Meditation does not give you peace – Peace enables mediation
What most call meditation can best be described as Yog Nidra, Relaxation technique, Mindfulness, Antar-maun, etc. Mark my words, none of these schools of thought call these techniques as meditation. However, the most common person suffixes or prefixes them with term meditation. The word meditation thus seems to have become a most abused word. All aforesaid techniques give instant pleasure. Not the lasting one. Many confide in private or openly discuss, that during meditation there were endless disturbing thoughts, there was agitation of mind due conflict at work or at home, they were unable to concentrate, etc. There are a few who would honestly talk of peace and serenity that they got after a session. But for how long did it last? There, are equal numbers, who enjoy faking it, that their session was, a bliss and divine. God only knows whom to believe?
Dr Janki Santoke, a senior disciple of Swami Parthasarathy, PhD (Philosophy) and a scholar of Vedanta, says, “When your mind stays on one thought, without intellect (logical power to discriminate), it is in transcendental (uplifting/divine/लय) mood. This gives instant joy. It gives instant relaxation and calming of mind”.
She quickly adds, “But when your intellect makes your mind stay in one thought, it is called meditation. So, meditation is keeping your mind on one thought with the use of intellect”.
Therefore, my question is, “Can a restless mind do meditation?”
If I can muster courage to say, ‘I am wrong, then I am better than what I was! But if I cannot admit I am wrong, I am not being truthful about my meditation practice.’ That is my ego. Despite Ravana having lost his kith and kin, did not admit his mistake of kidnapping Sita. It was his ego.
Dr Janki continues, “So, many people sit down to meditate without mastering concentration. Absence of concentration is when mind is running here and there. Intellect is not able to hold it in one place. The mind runs, wherever your desires are. For example, your mind wants to know what is for dinner; so, your mind goes there. You have appeared for an exam; you are now thinking, whether you will get gold or silver medal. So, what breaks our concentration is the presence of desires. The multiplicity of desires, when uncontrolled by intellect, breaks our concentration. Hence is the importance of abitly to focus as a means to meditate”.
Despite of this when you force yourself to meditate, it perhaps causes mental breakdown, due failure to concentrate or meditate. Such people see hallucinations. We hear of them speaking to God. They fail to have meaningful conversation with their colleagues. It is a dangerous situation. They may even require psychiatric treatment. Such people believe that their problem will be solved by meditation, without realising that meditation can worsen their situation.
When agitated people take up meditation, their mind simply breaks apart. That is why meditation does not work for them, as they take up meditation prematurely. Maturity means that level of desires has gone down considerably. This in turn gives purpose to meditate.
It is wrongly perceived that meditation develops concentration, as concentration is a pre-requisite for meditation. You can not meditate to learn concentration. Same way you cannot do PhD to get BA degree. So, do your BA first and then PhD. You need heat to cook the food. But lot of preparation is required before food is placed on fire. The Chapter VI, Yoga of Meditation, of Bhagwat Gita explains preparatory work required for a meaningful meditation.
The Chapter VI of Bhagwat Gita, ‘Yoga of Meditation’ (ध्यानयोग:) says, “Meditation does not give peace; but peace enables meditation”. Finally remember, that Lord Krishna never tells you what to do? He merely says that if you do this, so and so will be the consequences. Choice is ours!